Gary Schmidt is appealing his disqualification from the Nevada state Senate District 16 race.
Incumbent Senator and fellow Republican Ben Kieckhefer challenged Schmidt’s candidacy saying he wasn’t actually a resident of the district because he wasn’t living at the Raindeer Lodge on the Mount Rose Highway. That’s the address he listed when he filed for the office.
Carson City District Judge James Wilson agreed with the Attorney General’s Office, which took up the case on behalf of the Secretary of State, and ruled Schmidt was disqualified.
Schmidt said the roof over the bar area of the Reindeer Lodge collapsed last winter under the weight of some 25 feet of heavy, wet snow. But he said the roof over his residential quarters at the rear of the lodge was still intact.
The problem, he said, was the utilities are all joined together and, until he can get power and other services back at the residence area, he has been forced to reside elsewhere. He was out of state three months, he said, attending to business in Alabama but has since returned and is now living in Washoe Valley, which is within District 16.
Wayne Thorley, elections deputy to the secretary of state’s office, said the state’s argument was Schmidt wasn’t a resident there and hasn’t made efforts to make the repairs. He said, in fact, Schmidt put the Reindeer Lodge up for sale.
Schmidt said repairs have been delayed by the snow at the lodge and he has been “having problems with county building officials in issuing him his permits.” He added most contractors are too busy in the area’s building boom to take on the job right now.
Based on that, Wilson ruled Schmidt ineligible to run in District 16, which represents south Reno, Carson City and Washoe County portions of Lake Tahoe.
Schmidt said this week his lawyers have filed his appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court and, in the meantime, he’s continuing to campaign.
“It is important that the people have a new voice in the Senate that is not dancing to the tune of special interests and lobbyists like the ones that Kieckhefer works for in his day job,” Schmidt said.
Kieckhefer works for the McDonald Carano law firm in Reno.
Schmidt said he wants the issue resolved by the court before the start of early voting at the end of this month. If it isn’t, Thorley has said he will post notices at polling places advising voters Schmidt has been disqualified from holding that office.
Schmidt ran against Kieckhefer four years ago as well and was defeated by a 2:1 margin in the primary.